Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Last Fall, I couldn’t resist picking up butternut squash when it was on sale. It just sounds delicious. Butternut Squash. Why wouldn’t you want to eat that? The problem was that I didn’t grow up eating butternut squash, so I had absolutely no idea what to do with it once I took it home. After spending an embarrassingly long amount of time chopping up the squash with my $5 cleaver, I started panicking about what to actually do with it. I’m not big on stir-frys, and I really wanted to be more creative than that. Initially, I thought I could make a butternut squash lasagna, a Butternut Squash Cheesecake with Chocolate CrushCranberry Pecan Butternut Squash MuffinsButternut Squash BreadSquash, broccoli and barley salad, or Curried Barley Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Green Peas. However, that all went out the window when I came across this recipe. There’s something so comforting about mac and cheese. Yet, I often avoid it because it’s not usually the greatest for you. Plus, I had most of the ingredients already, so I didn’t have to go out of my way to pick up anything extra for it unlike the above recipes.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
(serves 6)

Put a pot of salted water on the boil for pasta. Take a butternut squash and stab it a few times, making sure you get in deep enough to penetrate the seed cavity. Put in the microwave on high for 7 minutes, turn and cook for another 7 or until soft. Meanwhile cook a 1/2 package of whole wheat macaroni. Chop 1/2C of fresh chives and dice 4 large tomatoes. Grate a cup of cheese. I used a variety of cheese in the fridge, mozza, cheddar, jack, and swiss. At least I think that was what they were there were quite a few mystery cheeses. Remove butternut from the microwave carefully so as not to burn yourself, ditto when you cut it in half. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and discard. Scoop out the flesh – it should be nice and soft. Combine the squash flesh with about 1 1/2C skim milk and lots of salt and pepper. Whisk the mixture together and bring to a simmer adding a pinch of cayenne. Stir in your cheese until nice and melty. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and chives. Combine with noodles and about 1/2Cplain yogurt. Put in a casserole and bake at at 425 for ten minutes then broil for another five.

While I love tomatoes, I didn’t think it seemed right to me to add them into the macaroni so that was the first thing that I omitted from this recipe. I also didn’t have chives, so I left that out too. As for the cheese, I used Allegra’s Fat-Free Mozzarella cheese (which is delicious by the way). Oh, and it just so happened that I was out of regular pasta, so I made this with rice pasta instead. Didn’t hurt this dish at all!

Taste? It did not disappoint me. But it made so much pasta that I ended up having to freeze some of it because I got sick of it after eating it for 2 weeks straight. As an added reassurance, I can report that thawed and re-heated butternut squash mac and cheese is just as tasty.

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